After saying in the offseason that Kristaps Porizings was very much in the team's plans moving forward, the Dallas Mavericks traded The Unicorn to the Washington Wizards for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. Fans were surprised about the move, but it was part of Jason Kidd’s grand plan.
Porzingis never regained All-Star form
In the three years that Kristaps Porzingis played in Dallas, the front office hoped he would regain his All-Star form, but sadly, it never happened. There were some brilliant performances, but it would be offset by several weeks on the sidelines due to different injuries. Unfortunately, it limited The Unicorn’s mobility on the floor and reduced his once-vaunted offensive arsenal to spot-up shooting in the 3-point area.
The front office gave up on the idea of giving Luka Doncic an All-Star caliber partner in leading the team. They flipped Kristaps for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. On paper, the two newcomers don’t really offer anything that current Mavs Jalen Brunson, Maxi Kleber, and Dorian Finney-Smith can't do on the floor. So why get them?
Kidd trying to copy the 2011 championship team
Dallas won its first and last title in 2011. Dirk Nowitzki was the lone star on that team. His supporting casts were aging veterans or former All-Stars whose productions were declining: Peja Stojakovic, Shawn Marion, Caron Butler, Jason Kidd, and Jason Terry. However, the 2011 Mavericks beat the odds, defeated super teams in the process, and won the title.
For Kidd, getting rid of KP enabled Dallas to have one superstar surrounded by role players, much like the composition of the 2011 champion team.
Can they make it work? The landscape in the NBA has changed, along with the skillset of the players. The Mavs’ single superstar formula beat the Lakers led by Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom, OKC with KD, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook, and Miami Heat with LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade.
It seems a team needs at least two all-star caliber players to contend for the title. Milwaukee has Giannis Antetokoumpo and Khris Middleton, Denver has Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, Brooklyn has KD and Kyrie Irving, Clippers with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. Can Luka carry the Mavs to the promised land with role players? His all-around game is suited for this type of roster. The question now is can other players deliver? The 2011 Mavs won because everyone knew their roles and played them perfectly. Jason Kidd might be on to something, but his experiment will only be judged on how far the Dallas Mavericks go in the postseason.